Wednesday, June 14, 2006
They just don't care.
And there's no shortage of hydrocarbons. Venezuela is sitting on tons of heavy crude, and Canadian tar sands dwarf existing stocks. Granted, the price of extraction is higher, but it could be done profitably at $50/barrel or so. So, peak oil is a mirage. The real problem is that we're destroying the planet by burning it.
And the big money people don't care, because they'll always be able to hire people willing to maim and kill anyone who gets in the way.
Or so they imagine.
Anyway, oil prices are an old story. Whatever set off the current panic is completely unrelated to that. Oil stocks were down, now recovering.
While there are tar sands and shales loaded with oil, you inadvertently make a point for me: it takes an enormous amount of natural gas energy to obtain oil from these deposits, and you've seen what has happened to the price of natural gas these past few seasons.
Peak oil isn't just a problem, it's the problem, because everything in the global economy is hedged on cheap oil.
We don't have to go all the way down the supply curve before huge problems will arise.
Of course the rich couldn't care less. But we have about thirty years' worth of oil left, and our leaders are not planning for this.
Remember, there's lots of coal for electric power. Oil is only important in three areas: transportation, agriculture, and chemicals.
I agree with you that tar sands are not yet commercially feasible. But heavy oil is economically feasible at $22/barrel.
Another big energy source is methane clathrates. We might have to develop those to prevent more global warming.
(I'm under par today, and can't carry the conversation well. Maybe we could start a thread and have a full bore debate? It's an interesting topic.
China, for example, has seen its oil imports increase by 40% in the same year that oil production remained flat (2005.) That's unsustainable.
Great Britain has some North Sea oil fields depleting on a 50% arc, indicating that soon they will be completely drained.
There was discussion of England going to a 3-day workweek to save on natural-gas industrial heating costs.
The Ghawar oilfields in Saudi Arabia are now pumping out 90% seawater, used to enhance recovery.
Europe has no oil of its own, but France, for example, has at least led the charge with electricity production from its many nuclear facilities.
I am obviously far more pessimistic than you are, Charles, regarding peak oil and the global economy.
But if there is hope for civilization, and I believe that there is, it hinges far more on people like you than it does on the Bush family evil empire.
More blogs about politics.